Sunday, May 1, 2011


The title is a Latin phrase translated from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. It has an ambiguous meaning but I think both definitions fit this entry. Its translation in English is “Art is long, life is short”, which could mean: “art lasts forever, but artists die and are forgotten” or “it takes a long time to acquire and perfect one's expertise (in, say, art making) and one has but a short time in which to do it”. I guess the latter is more appropriate to this entry, and less depressing, so I’m going to stick with that one. Now, why would I include a Latin phrase as a title other than to make me look smart and sophisticated? Actually, there is a perfect explanation for the title. I just finished my first year (freshman) at the School of Visual Arts majoring in Cartooning. If you’re a loyal reader of my blog you know by now that I am counting the hours I invest in drawing or painting, in order to reach 10,000 hours (supposedly that’s the amount of time it takes in order to master a skill, hence the title of the blog! get it?), if this is your first time, you know by now what this is all about, and believe me, it doesn’t get more simple than that. I started this blog on August 25, 2010. It’s been practically eight months and I’ve reached approximately 600 hours. I hope I’ll reach the 1000 hours mark by August 25 but it is highly unlikely since I am now in my summer break. But don’t panic! I’ll still be able to draw since I’m going to be in Florence for three months and over there the art is in the air! It is taking me more time than I anticipated but I’ll get there in probably 10 years!!! A lot of blog entries I suppose!

Weather is changing, spring has come to New York City, and there are more people in the streets. You can spot more tourists than ever roaming through the streets, especially since they are the only ones standing looking at a map (or Google Maps app). Everybody is in constant motion that tourists seem like a part of a machine that is broken. Maybe I’m putting too much thought on this because I’m jealous. I would love to come to this city as a tourist again. The weather is still kind of crazy but the freezing time is over. Now I miss it a little. I know, I don’t get it either. The only thing I’m not thrilled is to leave New York when the weather is changing for the better. Then again, I’m going home to Ecuador for a month and I’m so happy to see my family and friends. And after that, like I said before, I’m going to Italy for three months to practice my Italian and get some art history requirement credits for my degree. I have everything planned. In any case, I know I’m going to miss this great city. One thing I have to say about New York though comes from a paragraph I read in a comic book named “The New York Five” by Brian Wood. It’s a comic about five teenage girls in freshman year in college… Before you say it, yes, I read all kinds of stuff, and not only for the illustrations! Seriously, this comic is awesome and this one sentence summed up everything I feel about New York now: “It’ll rob you and cheat you. It’ll take your friends and turn them to you. It’ll kick your ass and break your heart. But then it’ll pick you up again, make you feel so totally alive and untouchable. It’s the center of the world, it’s the best place in the world, and once it’s in your heart, it’ll never leave you”. Kind of cheesy, but damn right accurate!

Since I haven’t written in a month, I have tons of artwork to show you. I don’t want to saturate you with too many images, so I’m going to be selecting the best ones. This creates a contradiction since I stated since the beginning of my blog that I wasn’t going to show you only my “masterpieces” but also my bad pieces. Well, I’ll make an exception and put the ones I like. It feels right you know!!!

I’ve drawn so much this month that I’ve been suffering from hand cramps. I didn’t know that was possible, but from now on, after two hours of drawing I take a 15-minute break. It made all the difference in the world. I have to remind you that I had to do a semester project for this class in which I had to draw 100 figures in 100 hours with different techniques and materials. This was a goal I put on myself but I could not reach it. I drew 43 figures in approximately 60 or 70 hours. They weren’t done in one sitting though; I had to draw them whenever I felt like it. I couldn’t reach my goal not because of lack of motivation, since I really enjoyed this project, but because of time constraint.

Journal semester project

Most of them you’ve seen before in my previous entries, so I will only show you my most recent ones. My favorites are Link from the Nintendo Zelda games, Jesse Custer from the Preacher comic by Garth Ennis (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist), Flash, and LUIGI from the Nintendo Mario Bros… he is number ONE after all!!!



It has been a good month for painting. I did three pieces that I’m really proud of. The first one was homework and I had to make a fantasy landscape. My approach was simple, get three regular landscapes and fuse them into one (Can you spot the Niagara falls?). I had no expectations on this painting but at the end it turned out pretty good for my taste. It is a small canvas board but it was a good study of color and shapes.

Fantasy landscape

The second was the “whatever” project. We had to paint ANYTHING! So in a predictable fashion I ended up painting a small white doll named Munny into FLASH! (You didn’t see that one coming, did you?). You can find all the info about Munny dolls at but let me assure you that these dolls are the shit!!! Google the word “Munny” and look at the images and you can see thousands of Munny dolls painted in a thousand different ways. They even sell them in art stores. I bought this doll at the start of my previous semester but never found the time to paint it until this project came along. I’m so happy with the result because I love all Flash memorabilia, and having one Flash doll made by me looks great in my collection. It even looks as if I had bought it in a store somewhere. He even has an attitude that says “who cares”. I love it ☺


Which brings me to my most ambitious painting to date. Maybe it’s not much but I put all my effort into this painting within the time constraint of sixteen hours divided in 4 or 5 sessions. This was a personal project and we could do an in-class painting of whatever we wanted. I wanted to do a portrait, mainly because I love drawing portraits but I had never painted one, and wanted to know how it would turn out. I had many prospects but at the end I decided to paint a good friend of mine (Xavier Salem) for three reasons: 1. He is an art enthusiast. 2. I’m sure he will hang it on a wall (he better!!!) and 3. He is a good friend of mine and I knew he would really appreciate it. So I started using a grid to get the proportions right and then started painting. It wasn’t as hard as I expected at first but then I started running into problems. The face was easy, and to my surprise I got the colors and gradations to my liking. The problem arose when I tried painting the background and the shirt. Because it is oil painting I ended up painting one color for the background and one for the shirt and it just didn’t work! I had to wait one week in order for it to dry and paint it all over it again. I was so frustrated that I took a picture of it and started experimenting with different colors in Photoshop. This is a good way to figure out colors before applying some real paint to the canvas. I really like this painting and my friend liked it too (so he says!), now my main problem is to take it with me back to Ecuador! It measures 24 x 30 inches. Any suggestions? Anyone???...

Dr. Salem

For my storytelling class we had to do a 4-page open comic, which means that we had to create the story from scratch with no creative constraint. Basically, do whatever you want but follow the proper narrative rules. I’m always thinking of new stories for my comics, but when I had to write one I was totally blank! I couldn’t come up with one decent story. It took me a while and I came up with an idea. It is very philosophical and probably I’m the only one who understands it, which cancels the intention of a proper story. Anyways, I hope you like it and if you understand it please post a comment because I really need some feedback on it. In my defense it was a difficult comic to draw but in the end I guess I did a good job. The main lesson I learned doing this comic is that it is better (at least for me) to lay out the entire page with vague drawings, in order to get the correct composition of each panel and in doing that, the whole page. Worry about the details later! In previous comics I started focusing on each panel and by the end of the page I was so tired that the composition ended up wrong. As Pia Guerra (famous comic artist of Y: The Last Man) once said: “Probably the hardest thing: avoid perfectionism. Yes, you want kick ass pages, but getting bogged down can kill the dynamism. If something isn't working, move on to the next panel or page. Always keep the flow going”. Wise words! The sad thing is that I read this a while back but only through the mystic road of practice and more practice is that you can really get this stuff.

Tao comic p.1
Tao comic p.2

Tao comic p.3
Tao comic p.4

Finally, we had to do a Minicomic! Sounds simple but it is a tedious work. Basically you have to do a comic on your own by making photocopies and creating your own cover. I really spent a lot of time on the cover, which I think it turned out pretty good (A Flash fact for comic fans, this was an homage for the cover of The Flash # 163 by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, August 1966). There was also an inside cover that complements with the cover. That was the fun part! What I really hated was designing the pages of the comic in InDesign, making copies of them and staple the pages together. Again, sounds simple enough, but I got a lot of problems with the process. Anyways, I hope I have saved enough dough in my life in order to make the investment to print a professional comic in order for me to not go through that process again. Being said that, I really like the concept of the minicomic, especially for students with a limited budget. It is a way to make your artwork, and yourself, known, and you can find a lot of gems in those regular printing paper copies. It’s like the independent movie industry for comics. I may be wrong but that is my educated conclusion on this matter.

The Journal Inside cover
The Journey minicomic cover

My final project for my Visual Computing class was to design a webpage. I’m sorry to say that I’m not going to upload it to the web anytime soon, but I’m planning to give that website to a designer in order to make it look more professional. I’ll post the link when it’s done! On my art history class we learned a lot of Neoclassicism and Romanticism and we even watched an interesting video about the French revolution! OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! It was a bloody mess but really interesting. Also, there was one session that the professor spent the entire class lecturing “us” how we can be better students and engage ourselves with the program. It was obviously not directed at me but I couldn’t help calculating in my head how much money cost me to hear the teacher preach. It was $200!!!

To wrap this up I will tell you what I think is the key to success. I’m not trying to tell you how to be successful (I don't think I've achieved that either), although the concept still applies. I’m trying to tell you how to achieve success from a specific task. The answer is simple enough: STICK TO IT! Be focused! Work hard! But most of all, stick to what you really want to achieve, and don’t let it go until you get it. It’s that simple!!! Don’t get discouraged nor distracted, you WILL eventually GET IT!


José Luis Molestina